The ‘Golden Boy’ Calls…and has a lot to say
Usually when Oscar De La Hoya, the founder of Golden Boy Promotions, calls, he has some interesting things to say. Last Wednesday I was given a buzz by the “Golden Boy,” who wanted to respond to IBF welterweight titlist Errol Spence Jr.’s statements that he really didn’t need a traditional promoter.
Now it’s expected that a promoter will state the case that he is essential for the business and for the growth and development of boxers. De La Hoya has a point; he himself was promoted into stardom by Bob Arum, of Top Rank. Currently the three biggest franchises in boxing, Saul Alvarez, Anthony Joshua and Gennady Golovkin, have been and are guided by promoters.
De La Hoya makes it clear that the most amount of money that can still be made by boxers is on pay-per-view, “And I have to say the HBO platform is by far the best platform a fighter can fight on and it’s been proven in the past and it’s been proven with ‘Canelo.’ It’s been proven by myself; it’s been proven with Floyd (Mayweather Jr.). Floyd was built on my undercards on HBO. Mike Tyson was built on HBO. Every household name that you can think about in boxing was built on HBO and the HBO Pay-Per-View platform.”
There really is no arguing with De La Hoya’s statement but the names he mentioned are from a previous generation, when HBO was the 800-pound gorilla, as it related to televising world-class boxing and showcasing the biggest names in the sport.
However is HBO still committed to boxing as it once were? The landscape of the business is changing now, with platforms such as ESPN+ and DAZN coming into play, and, as of this moment, their rival across the street, at Showtime, is clearly the leader among premium cable networks, when it comes to boxing. At the moment it’s not clear if HBO even cares about its boxing franchise anymore.
Where have you gone Michael Fuchs and Seth Abraham?
“I strongly believe HBO is going to come harder than ever and stronger than ever,” stated De La Hoya, who, given his company’s ties to the network, has to believe that. “Now that this deal went through with Time-Warner and AT&T and the dust has settled, I believe HBO is going to come back. And like I said before, HBO has the platform and the strongest brand to promote a fighter.”
HBO, which last televised a card on May 12, just announced its next broadcast, on July 21, in Las Vegas, where the WBO 154-pound title contest between Jaime Munguia and Liam Smith headlines a tripleheader, on a card in which Golden Boy is the lead promoter. Currently Golden Boy is the main content provider for HBO and Canelo is the franchise fighter for both entities.
The biggest event on the calendar for both GBP and HBO is September 15, as the Mexican star rematches with Golovkin in a pay-per-view grudge match that was finally agreed on, as De La Hoya himself reached into his own pocket to satiate the financial demands of “GGG.”
When asked why he took this action, he told UCNLive.com, “I thought about (Felix) Trinidad and myself. The second fight never took place, and, to this day, people ask me, ‘Can you please have a rematch with Trinidad? We want to see it.”’ After their debated welterweight title unification fight in 1999 (won by the Puerto Rican icon), for some reason, a second chapter between the duo never took place.
“I think about rematches with Sugar Ray Leonard and Marvelous Marvin Hagler that never happened, I didn’t want to repeat history. I wanted to make sure that this fight happened and this was the ‘Hail Mary’ that came out of my personal pocket to make up the difference,” continued De La Hoya, who played the role of Roger Staubach here.
For De La Hoya, this isn’t so much a sacrifice but an investment. The bottom line is there is no other fight for Alvarez that does even half the pay-per-view business the rematch with Golovkin does. Their first meeting back last September did around 1.4 million buys, and had the third highest gate in Nevada history, at approximately $27 million.
De La Hoya affirmed, “The biggest fight is Canelo-Golovkin and we had to deliver it for the sake of boxing and for the sake of Canelo, for the sake of ‘Triple G,’ for the sake of the sport. This is a fight that HAD to take place in September, and I’m glad we made it happen.”
Media luncheons at the Palm Restaurant are currently very high on my pound-for-pound list (and you know how important those are), and, last Tuesday, Golovkin and GGG Promotions’ Tom Loeffler staged one for the local media in Los Angeles.
Leading into September 15, you won’t see the two boxers in the same building, given the tension that has grown between them.
“The gloves are off; these guys don’t like each other anymore,” said Loeffler, who called this steak house gathering “clenbuterol-free.” “That’s why we’re doing our publicity; Canelo will do his publicity, and I think it will translate into much bigger interest from the fans and from the media. All the controversy that was swirling around the fight, with Canelo testing positive, getting suspended, all the drama, us saving the Cinco De Mayo date, has made this into much bigger even than it was the last time.”
According to Loeffler, there will not be a “Face-off,” on HBO, prior to this event, but a “24/7” will be produced. But will this approach affect pay-per-view sales, given that the public likes to see the animosity and hatred beforehand? I mean, doesn’t that actually whet the appetites of fight fans?
Undefeated junior welterweight prospect Vergil Ortiz Jr. looks like he has a very high ceiling, and, as of this moment, is Golden Boy’s most promising young boxer…WBC 130-pound titlist Miguel Berchelt took care of Jonathan Barros in three rounds. Will we ever see him and WBA beltholder Gervonta “Tank” Davis square off?…The Lucas Matthysse-Manny Pacquiao fight, on July 14 in Malaysia, is still a go for the time being, it looks like…Looks like the scorecards for Josh Taylor-Viktor Postol were filled out beforehand…The interview with Baker Mayfield and Colin Cowherd was great stuff…I can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and I tweet (a lot) at twitter.com/steveucnlive. I also share photos of stuff at instagram.com/steveucnlive and can also be found at tsu.co/steveucnlive.